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[110] occupied the vicinity of Chancellorsville, a country mansion, in the center of the wilderness that stretched along the Rappahannock.

The movement of the army began on the 27th of April when Sedgwick was sent east of Fredericksburg with a large force to attract the attention of the Confederates. Another force was left in Camp to give the appearance that the main army was still there, while in fact it was secretly being moved to Chancellorsville. The strategy was carried out successfully. On April 30th the army, except a force under Sedgwick composing the First, Third, and Sixth Corps, was concentrated on Lee's left flank, the entire field and its approaches being commanded by the Fifth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Corps, part of the Second Corps, and Stoneman's cavalry of the Army of the Potomac. Victory seemed assured. Hooker, in an order issued on that day, said, “Now the enemy must flee shamefully or come out of his defenses to accept battle on our own ground, to his certain destruction.” The contemplated field of battle was high ground about half way between this plateau and the Chancellor house. The Federal army was not yet in position on this open and favorably located field. At eleven o'clock in the morning Hooker started the movement of the army to the point where he intended it to be in line of battle at two o'clock on the afternoon of May 1st.

Lee was a great general and a master in strategy. He had learned of Hooker's plan and, paying but little attention to Sedgwick, had collected his forces and turned to face Hooker. By a rapid night march he met the Union army before it had reached its destination. He was pushed back, however, by Sykes, of Meade's corps, who occupied the position assigned to him. Meade was on the left, and Slocum on the right, with adequate support in the rear. All was in readiness and most favorable for the “certain destruction” of the Confederates predicted by “Fighting Joe” when, to the amazement and consternation of all his officers, Hooker

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